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Salmonella Food Poisoning

Salmonella Food Poisoning

As the name suggests, salmonella food poisoning occurs when salmonella bacteria enter into your body through food. Read on to know the symptoms and treatment of gastrointestinal disorders caused by salmonella bacteria.
Leena Palande
Last Updated: Mar 12, 2018
Food poisoning caused by salmonella is also referred to as salmonellosis or salmonella enterocolitis and in majority of cases, poor hygiene is responsible for the situation. Nearly 50000 cases of salmonella food poisoning are detected in the U.S. every year and about 500 people die due to salmonella every year.
Causes
The warm summer weather promotes fast bacterial growth and hence more cases of salmonella infection are noticed during summer. When people eat food contaminated by salmonella, salmonella poisoning symptoms are noticed. Those who have weak immune system are more likely to develop severe salmonella symptoms while those who have strong immune system can fight salmonella infection easily or they may experience mild symptoms. Many times, food gets infested by salmonella while handling or during processing. Those who do not clean their hands in the right manner, after using a bathroom, may carry salmonella on their hands and may contaminate food.
Salmonella can affect pets and can be present in pet feces and can thus get transmitted to human food items. Those who do not maintain cleanliness after handling pet feces or after any kind of interaction with pets, are likely to contaminate food with salmonella. Parents need to create awareness about cleanliness and hygiene in children, especially when children love the company of tortoise, rodents, ducklings, etc. Vegetables, fruits, beef, eggs, milk can get contaminated very easily. Lack of sanitation facilities can result in salmonella infection. It takes about 6-72 hours for salmonella food poisoning onset. After the incubation period, salmonella symptoms are noticed. Once a human being or an animal has salmonella in his body, he continues to be a carrier of salmonella for several days and may continue to excrete salmonella through feces.
Symptoms
•Headache
•Diarrhea
•Bacteremia
•Joint pain
•Reiter's Syndrome
•Meningitis
•Mild to high fever
•Chills
•Abdominal pain
•Abdominal cramps
•Confusion, disorientation
•Dehydration
•Infection of aneurysms
•Loss of appetite
•Muscle pain
•Myalgias
•Hepatitis
•Weakness, fatigue
•Arthritis
•Bloody diarrhea with mucous
•Infection in lungs leading to pneumonia
•Infection of existing tumors or cysts
•Dizziness due to lowered blood pressure
•Pericarditis or infection of heart membrane
Treatment
The symptoms usually last 4 to 7 days and the person recovers on his own without any treatment if the symptoms are mild. Those who experience only diarrhea need no medications. Those who experience severe diarrhea and dehydration may need intravenous administration of fluid and for that they might be hospitalized. Severe dehydration can even cause death. So the person should increase his intake of water and fluids. In case of severe infection, salmonella may enter into the bloodstream resulting in septicemia. The condition is known as bacteremia. Rapid breathing and increased heart rate may be noticed in case of bacteremia. Spiking fever and chills also indicate bacteremia. Patients need to take antibiotics; when they are diagnosed with bacteremia. Very rarely, patients diagnosed with salmonellosis develop Reiter's syndrome. This disease can last for several months or years and can cause chronic arthritis. Though the patient takes the prescribed antibiotics, doctors cannot guarantee that the patient will not develop arthritis. Salmonella poisoning treatment may or may not help prevent arthritis.
Stool culture and blood test help diagnose salmonella food poisoning. Cleanliness, maintenance of hygiene is essential to avoid salmonella infection. Washing your hands properly and thorough washing of fruits, vegetables and meat is essential to ensure salmonella-free food. People should avoid eating raw eggs and raw meat. People, especially infants and the elderly whose immune system is comparatively weaker, are at highest risk for salmonellosis. It is better to strengthen the immune system by consuming healthy foods and by performing exercises regularly.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.